Game Retrospective Part 1 Game Vs Play


K Dog here for a quick discussion on Game Culture discussing the differences and similarities of the terms game and play. Taking Game Culture in College really got me thinking. This is going to be an average guy’s view on the subject.


Game Vs Play; people could possibly equate these terns with Yin And Yang of how different interrelated these terms are. The analogies that can creep up when thinking about the differences between Game and Play are

  • Game is order while Play is chaos
  • Game is the rules while play is freedom.
  • Play is open-ended  in which make-believe and world-building are crucial factors. Games are confined areas that challenge the interpretation with rules and tactics and time and space .

Think of how a kid plays with toys as opposed to a group of kids playing the game tag. One there is no rules, and the other has rules.

These two terms sets up a basic argument on what is is to be gained, or lost, in linear games with rules and  as opposed to an open ended game. When I think about the games I experienced, I think of how Linear games are on the game side and open ended games are on the play side.

What does this all mean. Game, can be equated to following rules and focuses more on winning or completing it. Play, on the other end,  is something that is never ending, and  focuses more on exploring.

What does this mean for the future of gaming? People face the whole dilemma of what game is better, or which game is more fun to play. Game and Play two concepts that are different yet relate to each other to create a dynamic mental picture. The duality of game and play may not just relate to games that we play, but also relate to facets within ourselves and our relationship to others throughout outside world.

This was a short explanation of this major topic that has much complexity than what i described and if anyone wants to learn more read this article:

To end the article I leave a quote from Shiv Visvanathan

“A game is a bounded, specific way of problem solving. Play is more cosmic and open-ended. Gods play, but man unfortunately is a gaming individual. A game has a predictable resolution, play may not. It allows for emergence, novelty, surprise.”





2 responses to “Game Retrospective Part 1 Game Vs Play

  1. Great article backed up by specifics. No ‘right answer’. It is all about quality on either end of the spectrum with Play not always winning out over Game. Seems like shiv visanathan may put too much stock in man’s alleged ‘unfortunate’ limitation as a gaming individual. Game culture (and the article) is showing us that ‘man’ has no such limitations.

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